Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Best and Worst of Times

“It was the best and the worst of times…”- A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

Although a foreign quotation, it was nevertheless a very appropriate theme for the lecture that Prof. Leonor Magtolis-Briones gave about Manuel Roxas. This is in connection with the Presidential Lecture Series being conducted by Upsilon Sigma Phi in UPLB.

It was insightful in the sense that it put me into proper perspective about that note that Roxas’ administration was plagued by corruption. (I would not blame those online semi-encyclopedic articles on the net; it was my misinterpretation that gave rise to the idea that Roxas was doing something fishy during his term).

Prof. Briones was really authoritative, not just because of her age, but also because it was obvious that she knows a great deal about the things that Roxas did concerning financing in the country. (Heck, I forgot, she was a former national treasurer of the coun
try).

The talk was progressive as she started by discussing the situation prior to the Roxas’ administration and the reasons that made Roxas do those actions within his term (i.e. the devastated country after the WWII). It is pretty hard to enumerate those works particularly as I was deprived of the chance to take notes (man, the auditorium was packed and I had to endure the hardship of standing in the aisle!). Suffice it to say for now that although they may seem too radical today, his moves to improve the ‘financial state’ of the country were altogether appropriate. Her talk was made all the more interesting as she stated the fact that the fiscal crisis during Roxas’ time and today is essentially the same and thus a comparison of the actions by the two presidents is thus possible (she called one a ‘gwapong presidente’ which was obvious from the pictures being flashed on the big screen, and the other ‘the cute one’, or if I remember it right the ‘pa-cute’ one, which draw laughter from the crowd).

What she presented (semi)technically on the financial states of the country on these two different period in Philippine history is evident – that the present administration presents to the people only beautiful stories on how well they are performing with regards to our fiscal needs. Roxas did exactly the opposite; he reported in all of the transactions and financial details concerning the country at that time. What stuck into me was the detail that at that time, the country had only around forty billion pesos (I wish I have some notes to verify this) but they needed around more than 240 billion pesos. This he did not hide from the Filipinos and so went in revising the mode of taxation of the country to help with that problem (what Prof. Briones called “progressive taxation”).

(Obserbeysyons: One) In contrast with the past lecture series, this one particularly had a large crowd, obviously because of the prospect of seeing Mr. Palengke. Two) Chancy was curiously pensive during the whole event; he did not even bulged with those jokes Prof. Biones made. Three) I find it unusual for lovers to use a lecture a dating place. Tss. Whatever.)

Photo from: iisd.ca

Monday, June 29, 2009

“Down”: A Sad Note

Only a few days have passed when a prominent public servant here in the city, along with several people, went down to the ground, never to stand again; their lives taken away in the name (so they say) of the almighty politics (and Philippine politics at that).
It never felt this close. The feeling that claiming lives have been brought down as easy as borrowing VCDs and DVDs on our local video shops has never been this intense.
I am beginning to wonder if Rizal and other, about a century ago, also felt this atmosphere of uneasiness; when things around appear to be inhuman and selfish.
Whether they (the slain officials) have wronged people or not, this is not a proper way of exacting punishment; justice must be served the soonest possible time.

Photo from: pdsp.net

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Writers’ Plight


I found a recent article of Conrado de Quiros in Inquirer particularly touching. In it, he relayed his experience in BIR where his profession (or passion?) was unruly disparaged. Nevertheless, he proceeded to explain how that singular event made him realize more the importance of his work in our country where there seems to be a distorted look on writing (well, in general). There was a personal event in which I could relate to de Quiros. I am not in any way equating myself to him (way too far) but only as far as standing strong in the passion of writing was concerned.

During the early months of my stay in the university, my mother and I have already started discussing whether I would stay on the course I was taking then or shift to a course I am more interested in (either history or any writing course; philosophy I would not take delight into until 2005). In the end, I stayed on in this course (in which I am currently battling out the fierce struggle on my thesis, hehe) for scholarship reasons – I was enjoying a scholarship which really helped eased the family of some major expenses.
But writing and history I was not able to get out of my mind. In some conversations with friends, I often say that if someone would ask me where I spent most of my college days, I would say that I spent them digging into history books in the Filipiniana section and tons of brittle lit books in the library. There was no way I would depart from my first love(s?).

As semesters passed, I become more interested in joining writing contests. This did not pass unnoticed from my mother who promptly asked what occupied me in those long hours in front of the computer. I said, writing contests. And she said, you can do all those things later on, when you have already finished your course.

She had a point. But to me, sticking with writing is not all about simply joining contests.

I have found great relief in transforming those jumbles of thought in my head into neat characters written on paper (or typed on the keyboard). Writing relaxes me, in the same way that beautiful scenery soothes a sick person. Writing enables me to create worlds with rules thoroughly detached from my own, from ours. It is not chaotic without rules; the worlds themselves form their life through those words used for them.

Perhaps it would take a long time before I could really dispose of other activities and devote more time in writing; a thing that other people have courageously done. For now, it is consoling to realize that I am still able to write. Though they are more frequently science-related, the whole point is that I get to write. De Quiros is taking his craft to a higher level and I am taking that as my platform (=inspiration) to elevate this aspect of my passion to a higher plane of learning and experience.

Science writer, eh? Not a bad idea after all.

Links
“Writer Ka Lang Pala” Part 1
“Writer Ka Lang Pala” Part 2

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June Song

Trala, how sweet are the days of June
When earth and sky seem to be in tune
The happy days of the year are all here
To feel our hearts with (cheers)!

This is a song I’ve learned back in my elementary days. I don't know its origin(s) but it’s good to have this in your head, singing how well June is coming to us.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fete dela Musique 2009


Fete Dela Musique 2009: Music is Language
June 20, 2009
Metrowalk, Ortigas Center Pasig City (Meralco Avenue ,Ortigas Pasig City)

Admission is Free!

ROCK/METAL – Metrowalk Parking Lot | Music Starts @ 1PM
BADBURN / WITCHTREESYMBOL / FINAL VOW / ETERNAL NOW / HILERA / PILEDRIVER / FASPITCH / THE AMBASSADORS / THE YOUTH / INTOLERANT / VALLEY OF CHROME / SIN / STARSCREAM / TYPECAST / GINRUM &TRUTH / KATOLIKO / IXION / APRIL MORNING SKIES / BLOODSHEDD / BLUE BOY BITES BACK / CAMPBELL / OREMUZ / ANGULO / MARYZARK / IMBUE NO KUDOS / COG

POP/ ALTERNATIVE – Metrowalk Center Plaza | Music Starts @ 1PM
STONEFREE / MAYONNAISE / DANITA / ALAMID / MIKE’S APARTMENT / DECEMBER AVENUE / GASULINA / CHILITEES / SHIFT / ARMAS / CIRCA / URIE’S ATTACK / THE CAMERA WALLS / THE OUT OF BODY SPECIAL / MANILA BUS / THE CHARMS / SALAMIN / ENEMIES OF SATURN / EPHESUS / PURPLE CHICKENS / CALLALILY / ALIBATA / CHUBIBO / THE BERNADETTES / CORPORATE LO-FI / DICE & K9 MOBBSTARS / BURNING BUSH

JAZZ –Aruba (Metrowalk) | Music Starts @ 5PM
YOSHA / SINOSIKAT / EARTH TRIO / BRASS MUNKY / LEA AND JAZZ JAZZIN’ PROJECT / JUAN PABLO DREAM

WORLD / FOLK – Marina (Metrowalk) MARINA (METROWALK) | Music Starts @ 7PM
SYALAM / BANDANG MALAYA / BRIGADA / PERYODIKO / KADANGYAN / REPUBLIKA DE LATA / THE CHONGKEYS / 524
ELECTRONICA / GOTHIC / NEW WAVE –Metro Phi Bar (Metrowalk) | Music Starts @ 7PM
SWITCH / THE EDRALINS / TURBO GOTH / TAKEN BY CARS / SKIES OF EMBER / TETHER / FUNERAL FROST / SCARLET TEARS / THE LOWTECHS / PEDICAB / US 2, EVIL-0 / FUN CITY BOYS

REGGAE / SKA – Love to Laugh (Metrowalk) | Music Starts @ 6PM
TROPICAL DEPRESSION / REGGAE MISTRESS / JUAN PABLO DREAM / SKABECHE / SAGOR / COFFEE BREAK ISLAND / BAMBU SPLIFF / PINK COW / JEEPNEY JOYRIDE / NEIGHBORS / TANGO BITOY / PEACE PIPE / COLLIE HERB

BLUES – Elbow Room (Metrowalk) | MUSIC STARTS @ 7PM
SNAKE CHARMER / BLUE JEAN JUNKIES / JONIVER / BEMBOL ROCKERS / NICOLE AND CARLO / PLAYPHONICS / HOUSE OF RAVEN / DR. CROWLEY / LADY HIGH / POWER TONE

HIP-HOP/RNB – Mugen (Metrowalk) | MUSIC STARTS @ 6PM
PAMILYA DI MAGIBA / MIKE SWIFT/J.HON / CB AUTOMATIC / KRAZYKYLE / SINAG / PEOPLE’S FUTURE / ILL- J

Friday, June 12, 2009

Independencia: thoughts on (our) independence


June 12.
The usual holiday.
Of course, the Philippine Independence Day.
Flags here, flags there. Ceremonies here, ceremonies there.
It’s our independence day, so what? What now?
This may be a proper time to look back again to the origin of this ‘independence’ and perhaps have a different look at it.

This day that we are probably looking forward to (because of another holiday added to our long list of long-waited holidays of the year) was made possible about more than a century ago. It may seem, upon looking at our history books, that it was prematurely done given the circumstances at that time, but it was nevertheless advantageous to declare a day of independence. Simply because there would now be a day to which the people at that time could anchor their hopes. They were now free from oppression (from the Spaniards) and so they could now assume new mindsets and move forward.

And that I think is a good look at this 1898 independence declaration. It helped the people to move forward towards living in a free atmosphere, free from foreign rule and oppression of rights and privileges, both as an individual and as a citizen of this country.

I am not being pessimistic but today, the independence is in danger getting stuck – getting stuck amongst the colorful wreaths and decorations, amidst beautifully-crafted speeches about this and that independence stuff; really, we have to take our independence right here and now. And deal with it.

For it spirals down to that same old question of how well we enjoy our independence today. What is the difference of the independence they witnessed declared then to the independence that we now commemorate?
Perhaps it’s in the loss of our concept of independence which we gradually relegate to the realms of mere memories. It’s the disregard of that hard-won independence. It is taking the independence declaration as a mere story caught between the pages of our school textbooks. The activities of the present are too engrossing to waste time in looking into how well we are really independent; how well we are free. Free. Free. Free.

Fashion. The ever-powerful television. Internet. Just a few of the things to which we indulge in and gravely imperil our identity as a nation. We conform to the fashion of other nations. We cater to the products of other countries. We identify ourselves to the unification that the internet seems to be doing with all people. It may seem that there is nothing wrong in all these but the limitations for these have been badly exceeded that it looks more to me that we are ushering ourselves already to a new form of colonization, no thanks to the persuasive powers of those ‘outsiders’ that do not care in the least about our identity. For them, it is all about spreading the products and their identity. To conquer and conform.

Even within this very country, we are threatened almost everywhere by those who are selfish enough to cater to their own wants and needs in the expense of our environment, our government, and our identity and image as Filipinos. Free trade. Charter Change. Brain drain. I would never get to understand their rationalizations with this obvious negligence in our country as a whole. One cannot just take the façade of the benefits we get into all of these things. We should look into the backstage of all these spectacles and see for ourselves who are hurt the most…– us.

But I do believe we are still quite far from the pits of oblivion. We see groups here and there having a strong sense of our identity as a nation. There’s the academe to which a large chunk of my hopes still lay. It may be now or it may be tomorrow. But a personal hope is for me to witness that one generation that would decide to fully support the growth of our identity as nation. In every aspect conceivable. Science. Arts. Literature. Medicine. Sports. Governance. Whatever you field we are today, if we make those strong resolves every single day to assert ourselves of our being Filipino, whatever means that would be, I cannot see any reason why we should not celebrate our independence everyday.

This Independence Day may be a mere celebration to some, but we should strive for that independence which is a state of mind.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Classes Start…

I look up after gazing at my newly stamped registration form (registered!) for the nth time and see the building up of the queue at the registrar’s office – students lining up now to claim their class cards. Classes are definitely starting now despite the H1N1 virus scare (so classes shall really start at 15, eh?)

I was several feet away from the registrar and our college secretary’s office but I could have guessed the things that were going to the minds of these scholars: how are they going to juggle their tight schedules for the next few months, how are they going to explain to their parents the subject (or subjects) they missed enrolling this semester, how are they going get a (co)-debtor for the loan that they plan to apply this semester, how are they going to obtain some ‘kickback’ on the enrollment fees this time; with hundred thousand students or more, the list is virtually endless.

And for so many times that I joined those lines for registration and loan application, they have all been filled with that same hope that things would go smoothly for that semester. I am in the very firm resolve to make this as my last enrollment for this degree and hope to give my relatives proud faces again five months from now. The last time I saw them wear those happy faces was more than five years ago. Accomplishing this degree is not, after all, only a matter of obtaining the prestige of graduating from an equally prestigious university. I believe it is also giving our toiling parents that feeling that the hard works that they are doing in order for us to survive each semester have not been in vain.

Schools are our fields of battle (academic ones?) and of sowing hopes.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

DAPAT BAWIIN Chapbook Launch

Attend the DAPAT BAWIIN Chapbook Launch, on June 2, 2009, 6-pm at the Conspiracy Bar, Visayas Avenue, Quezon City. The chapbook contains arts and literary pieces in support of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB). Spread the word! Presented by Kilometer 64 Artists' Arrest at Kasama-TK.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Chicken Story

See through these pages a time when chickens seem to have been given equal place on the world as humans. See through the story a theme concerned with the family...as seen through the world of the chickens.
Do read Elmer by Gerry Alanguilan. A proud San Pableño.
*Look it up at komikero.com